We’re in the midst of the 2017 NBA Finals, and all you read and hear about is how the Warriors and Cavaliers are going to meet in the league’s championship round from now through eternity. The two teams may very well close out this decade meeting each and every year, but if one team is positioned to upset the annual clash of the super-teams it’s the Boston Celtics.
Leading the charge for the Celtics when it’s finally time to seriously compete for the league title again will likely be Markelle Fultz. It seems nearly a lock that the Celtics will tab the Washington guard with the No. 1 overall pick. There is a very good chance that Fultz (what’s a good nickname? Fultz-y? Main Event Markelle?) is the next great Boston athlete. So, who – exactly – is this guy? Here’s a glance.
It’s truly hard to find much of a weakness in Fultz’ game. He’s 6-foot-5 on a good day, which means he could potentially play alongside tiny Isaiah Thomas. Fultz has a ridiculous 6-foot-10 wingspan and has massive hands.
His herky-jerky style has drawn comparisons to James Harden, and Fultz is a terrific finisher – surprising many with his athleticism at the rim. He also owns an exceptional pull-up jumper and is dynamic in transition, offensively.
Here is what DraftExpress.com had to say about the Washington freshman: “Fultz is a tantalizingly gifted shot-creator, sporting an extraordinary combination of body control, ball-handling, footwork and pace. He changes speeds, directions and uses both hands innately, spinning off opponents, splitting ball-screens frequently, and finishing with Euro-steps. He combines his ability to get wherever he wants on the floor with outstanding shot-making prowess off the dribble, making 42 percent of his pull-up jumpers on the season.
“As good as Fultz is on the ball, he also has significant potential operating alongside another ball-handler with his excellent size, length and frame, giving his future NBA coach plenty of lineup flexibility.”
In Fultz’ only collegiate season, his team went a putrid 9-22 – which is truly hard to do for a major program given all the typical cupcakes teams schedule at the start of the season. Elite current players like Harden, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry all got their teams to the NCAA tournament. Fultz couldn’t even get the Huskies to double-digit wins.
DraftExpress also questions the 19-year-old’s defensive toughness but says he “has the tools to be very effective” on the defensive end. The website also points out that he has a “very casual approach to the game … and it makes him look like he’s operating at half speed at times.”
Fultz has said all the right things since the Celtics landed the No. 1 pick. He seems legit excited about potentially playing alongside Thomas – who also played at the University of Washington.
“Me and Isaiah Thomas would be a great backcourt,” Fultz told CSNNE. “I think the opportunity that would be there would be amazing, just for him to play off the ball, where I think he’s better at it, or him to play on the ball and I can play off the ball. I think the chemistry would be amazing.”
Endearing himself to Celtics fans, Fultz posted a Vine titled, “Shut up LeBron!” in 2013. In the video, Fultz called out James’ receding hairline in a spot-on Chris Rock voice.
“Man, shut up LeBron! Can’t even see your hairline, fool! You goin’ bald in the next 24 hours. The next game you gonna be bald! Shut up!”